Ruth Thompson became Michigan’s first woman in Congress when voters elected her to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1950. A Whitehall native, Thompson (1887 – 1970) spent her entire working life as a public servant. While serving three terms as a Muskegon County probate judge (1925 – 1937), she gained national recognition as an advocate for children’s rights. Thompson was elected the county’s first female state representative in 1938. During and after World War II she worked as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army in Washington D.C. and in Europe. Upon taking Congregational office on January 3, 1951, she received the first House Judiciary Committee appointment granted to a women. Reelected for two subsequent terms, Thompson lost her primary bid for a fourth term in 1956 and returned to her home in Whitehall.
Ruth Thompson, Michigan’s First Congresswoman, Michigan Historical Markers website.
Ruth Thompson entry, U.S. House of Representatives History, Art, and Archives website.